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Ninety Degrees North: The Quest for the North Pole

744 pages13 hours


The author of Barrow’s Boys offers a fascinating look at the exploration of the Arctic in the nineteenth century.
Named a Best Book of the Year by the New York Times Book Review, the Seattle Times, Publishers Weekly, and Time
In the nineteenth century, theories about the North Pole ran rampant. Was it an open sea? Was it a portal to new worlds within the globe? Or was it just a wilderness of ice? When Sir John Franklin disappeared in the Arctic in 1845, explorers decided it was time to find out.
In scintillating detail, Ninety Degrees North tells of the vying governments (including the United States, Great Britain, Germany, and Austria-Hungary) and fantastic eccentrics (from Swedish balloonists to Italian aristocrats) who, despite their heroic failures, often achieved massive celebrity as they battled shipwreck, starvation, and sickness to reach the top of the world.
Drawing on unpublished archives and long-forgotten journals, Fergus Fleming recounts this riveting saga of humankind’s search for the ultimate goal with consummate craftsmanship and wit.
“Barely a page goes by without the loss of a crew member or a body part . . . Fleming [is] a marvelous teller of tales—and a superb thumbnail biographer.” —The Observer
“A fable of men driven to extremes by the lust for knowledge as epic as a Greek myth.” —Time

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